Some commentators on the Yoga Sutras speak of the Witness as a General on a hill overlooking the troops. From this metaphor many people come to understand the Witness as distant and unengaged; a being who watches but is completely uninvolved. The troops are left to their own devices and therefore to fate, wandering the field without the guidance of the General.
My experience is that the Witness has agency and responsibility. The Witness/General participates with the troops and engages—just as a military general, though he appears to be separated from his troops, is directing and impacting their courses of action.
In truth, we are the generals of our own lives. Our job is to know this and share in the great game. As the generals of our own lives, we must know and accept our proper relation to the General. From the standpoint of the General, we are foot soldiers, and we must be willing to serve.
The General is Pure Consciousness. Put another way, it is Pure Love. The General enlivens people and events, but it does not dispense advice. Consciousness goes through various filters at the different levels of manifestation. How clean its final expression is into the physical plane depends on how pure the filters and vehicles are. The human psychic instrument, comprised of an intellect, data collector and identifier, is enlivened by Consciousness. If the psychic instrument is impure, then the clarity of Consciousness will be obscured. The same goes for our senses, personality and emotions, or any other vehicle.
So the General is always radiating the Consciousness we need to both discern and then take action. In order to fully express the General’s nature, the troops must be disciplined and surrendered to the fact that they are not in charge. The troops have to work hard to let go of anything that is an obstacle blocking the General’s radiance.
The General emanates Consciousness; the troops are to allow that Consciousness to direct all their actions on every level. Because the General is Love, when we are surrendered to him we are guided by Love in all aspects of our lives. From there, we stop seeing the General from our eyes and only see through the General’s eyes.
“Rohini” is an actor in the field for the Witness. The Witness enlivens her. She is a foot soldier for the General. She gets to act, but must always follow and obey the Witness. Baba wanted me to live this, so he was always directing me toward the Witness. Baba called me a general; he wanted me to know the Real General.
Another way to look at this is that in Truth we are like the sun, not the moon. The Self, the Witness, the General, is the sun. He is self-illuminative, Pure Subject with no object. The foot soldier, the individual, is the moon. Remember, the moon has no light of its own. Without the sun, there is no light. Without the Witness, there is no Consciousness, no light of awareness, no Love. To be in right relation with the General and with the world, the foot soldier must relinquish its sense of itself as the center of the universe.
The responsibility of the General is to emit Pure Consciousness. The responsibility of the foot soldier is to clean and clarify himself, moving from tamas to rajas to sattva and beyond so as to reflect that Consciousness perfectly. Our capacity, capability and will must work clearly for the General. Not until the foot soldier is purified will he fully express the General’s purpose.